Cornell fades at Penn, misses opportunity to gain ground in Ivy League Tournament hunt

Cornell led at Penn at halftime, 32-30, at the Palestra Saturday night in a game teeming with Ivy League Tournament implications.

Then the second half happened, and the Big Red faded in a 68-50 loss to Penn that kept the home team in the Ivy tourney hunt, even as Cornell maintains a one-game lead over Penn in the Ivy standings and is tied with Brown at 5-5, with the Big Red currently holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Penn opened the second stanza on a 14-3 run in the first 6:20 and never looked back, doing a much better job limiting touches for Cornell senior guard Matt Morgan.

Morgan had seven of Cornell’s paltry 18 points in the second half. Jimmy Boeheim made two layups, Joel Davis made one, Steven Julian sank a free throw, and Kobe Dickson came in and hit a meaningless floater in the final minute. And that was it for Cornell’s scoring in the final 20 minutes.

Penn didn’t even shoot the ball all that great, but its 43 percent was still much better than Cornell’s 36 percent. The Big Red gave the Red & Blue too many second chances, whether from offensive rebounds allowed (six) or turnovers (12).

The Big Red didn’t do what they typically do best: draw fouls. They only drew 13 and had just nine free throw attempts.

Cornell got quite a few good looks from Jimmy Boeheim and Josh Warren, but both had trouble getting shots to fall all weekend. Warren did, however, post three blocks and seven rebounds on Saturday.

The Big Red defense did do a pretty good job overall but gave Devon Goodman too many looks from three early on. Goodman canned four threes and notched 16 point on 6-for-10 shooting in 31 minutes.

AJ Brodeur quietly turned in a 17 point, 10-rebound double-double, plus five assists. The Big Red did keep Michael Wang in check, holding him to just three points after he dominated in the second half in Penn’s loss at Cornell.

Ivy standings implications

Cornell entered the weekend with a two-game lead over Brown. Only a little bit more than 24 hours later, Cornell and Brown are now tied at fourth after Brown swept Harvard and Dartmouth at home while Cornell got swept itself.

Cornell hasn’t won a game at either Penn or Princeton since 2011, which is incredibly sad. The Big Red really struggle on this road trip, and this weekend was no exception.

Cornell’s next stop is New Haven, where Yale was just stunned by Harvard thanks to another Bryce Aiken buzzer-beater. Cornell then heads to Providence for a huge game with Brown.

The Big Red would appreciate it if Columbia were to knock off Brown on Friday, especially if Cornell were to drop a fourth straight game and lose to Yale. Saturday may decide who gets into the Ivy tournament, especially if Cornell and Brown both have the same result on Friday.

For Cornell to win Friday, they need Warren and Boeheim to shoot the ball better and Morgan to play like he did last time against Yale (35 points on 10-for-18 shooting).

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